AndyO Blog

Monday, July 20, 2020

Pandemic 2020: Right back where we started

I can’t believe it’s been 2 months since I wrote anything in this blog. And, unfortunately, things haven’t really changed. I still have a broken dishwasher. I’m still working from home. We’re still ordering takeout. And the coronavirus is still devastating the United States. Other countries, they’re doing better, but the richest country in the world can’t be bothered to take the necessary steps to reduce the risk.

While there’s a lot of blame to go around, the majority of it belongs to Donald Trump. He has done nothing to provide the federal leadership required during a crisis of this magnitude. Instead, he and his shameless band of enablers have started culture wars about whether it’s important to or wear a mask, when to reopen states, and the importance of testing. All of this has helped to extend the first wave of this virus. 

And that’s the part that sucks. We’ve been cooped up in our houses for going on five months. We’ve rarely seen our families or friends in person. And now we’re right back where we started—all because the president’s malignant narcissism prevents him from understanding others might know more than he does, or that he needs to think longer term than tomorrow.

For those who think this is all a conspiracy, tell that to the families of the 130,000 people who have died. Tell that to the future Americans who will die because of all this stupidity and disregard for basic science. This isn’t the Dark Ages. We know how viruses make people sick, even if we don’t yet have a cure. And getting that cure will take time, because that’s what needs to happen if we want it to work safely for most people. Magical thinking won’t make this go away. Amplifying some new distraction won’t make it go away.

We need to return to a shared, fact-based reality if we want this crisis to be over sooner than later. Understand that with this virus, you won’t necessarily show symptoms, which means you could be spreading it without even knowing it. So, when you go out in public, practice social distancing and wear a mask.
posted by AndyO @ 1:49 AM   0 comments

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Pandemic 2020: Birthdays and broken dishwashers

Wed, May 6, was my birthday. My first present was waking up to a dishwasher running its pump (which started intermittently on Tues, but then continuously in the middle of the night). I turned off the circuit breaker and left it for later. I had a busy day at work and no time for a new project.

Later on Wed, the kitchen flooded. Turns out there was a leak somewhere in the diswasher, and the basin was full. After my birthday dinner of bratwurst (and National Treasure 2), I started working on the dishwasher again until the wee hours of the morning. Unfortunately, this meant I missed all my meetings on Thursday morning.

By now dishes were stacking up in the sink. Big time.

Friday, I used the shop vac to vacuum out all the water—maybe two gallons worth. This was right before the military flyby over many Seattle area hospitals with two C-17 Globemasters. It wasn’t too exciting, however, since the planes were a mile away. (I guess we always expect the Blue Angels.)

Saturday--like all Saturdays during the pandemic--I rested. Late in the afternoon, Brenda and I washed every dish by hand. Then we watched Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker. This was my third time, and somehow I didn’t hate it--as much as the second time, anyway. Later, I did some stargazing with Drew.

Sunday, I tore apart the dishwasher even more—and eventually lacerated my finger on a sharp edge. No stitches, but a lot of blood. Time for a new dishwasher, even if we are in lockdown. No Swedish Asko, a specialty brand with very little support. (The store that sold it to us went out of business long ago.)

Oh, and it was Mother’s Day. Of course, I failed with that, too, on multiple levels.

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posted by AndyO @ 11:57 PM   1 comments

Saturday, May 02, 2020

Pandemic 2020: Quarantine fatigue

It’s clear that everyone is getting quarantine fatigue. Despite the danger, and the continued lack of federal leadership, some states are a starting to reopen. Protesters, many armed with semi-automatic rifles, say they’re fighting for constitutional freedoms that have been denied under a lockdown. But like a lot of things like this, it’s just an excuse to amplify lost causes that most people don’t care about. Because if we open too soon, all this social distancing will have been for nothing, and we’ll see new waves of this devastating virus. This is exactly what happened with the 1918 Flu. 

Trump isn’t helping any of this. He continues to push magical thinking and conspiracy theories that have fanned the flames of the unhinged and uninformed. Last week, at a press conference, he wondered aloud whether people should drink disinfectants like bleach, or use UV light to defeat the virus. It caused a spike in calls to poison control centers. 

This is truly an “Emperor has no clothes” moment—and something I never thought I’d see in my lifetime. It’s clear that Trump and much of his administration don’t know what they’re doing—and don’t really care about the people. But this shouldn’t be surprising: a game show host and failed businessman was never a good choice to run the executive branch of our government.
posted by AndyO @ 11:16 PM   0 comments

Monday, April 20, 2020

Pandemic 2020: Game distractions

At the beginning of the lockdown, I favored playing games on my iPad mini. Two in particular were Tail Gun Charlie and Crash Dive, Both of which are produced by Panic Ensues Software.

Tail Gun Charlie is an adrenaline rush of blowing WWII aircraft out of the sky as a (wait for it!) tail gunner. The genius part of this game is the  endless customization, including type of aircraft and delay between when they appear.

Crash Dive is a sophisticated U-boat simulator that also offers multiple game types and customization. As a commander, you get to prowl the Atlantic in search of prey. It’s always fun when aircraft carriers show up.

But iPad games only go so far. Currently, I’m replaying Star Wars Battlefront 2. Every time I play the space battles, I’m in awe of the graphics. In addition to being able to fly around detailed Star Destroyers in an X-wing, the lighting is absolutely stunning. I suppose it helps to be playing in 4K.



posted by AndyO @ 10:50 PM   0 comments

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Pandemic 2020: Snappy Dragon takeout

Tonight, we ordered takeout from the Chinese restaurant just up the street: Snappy Dragon. It’s been in the Maple Leaf neighborhood longer than we’ve lived here (23 years!). And in all that time, while we might have taken a few breaks from ordering in or out, it still remains a favorite.

Eating Snappy tonight was like visiting an old friend. Even if they didn’t seem to get the “1-star” heat rating for two dishes, I didn’t really care. Mouth on fire, I ate it anyway—dousing the blaze with two glasses of lemonade.

Speaking of fires, sometime in the early 2000s, Snappy Dragon almost burned down. We came back from a Thanksgiving break to discover that the area that contained Reckless Video, a coffee shop, and a Maple Leaf Bar and Grill was a smoldering heap. My next door neighbor, Pat, an ex-fireman, told me about how he tried to help put out that blaze—but because it was at the top of the hill, the water pressure was low, making it more of a challenge. Even so, they somehow managed to save Snappy Dragon.

Fortunately, both Reckless Video and Maple Leaf Bar and Grill found new buildings within a block or so of their old locations. And where the parking lot and Maple Leaf businesses once stood, there are now multiple condos. This has added more cars to the street—especially near Roosevelt.

I heard that fire was arson, though I never found out for sure. I just know that the sale of the land for condos made someone a lot of money.
posted by AndyO @ 10:55 PM   0 comments